Jeffrey Yohai gets 9 years for real estate schemes

Paul Manafort’s former son-in-law stole $6M from investors

Nov.November 11, 2019 12:48 PM
Jeffrey Yohai and 779 Stradella Road
Jeffrey Yohai and 779 Stradella Road

Jeffrey Yohai, former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, was sentenced Friday to more than nine years in prison for running two fraud schemes centered around developing high-end Los Angeles real estate.

Yohai stole more than $6 million from investors with the understanding that money would be used to build spec homes in some of L.A.’s priciest neighborhoods, only to use it for personal expenses. U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte Jr. was sharply critical of Yohai’s actions at his sentencing, saying he “has an evil mind,” according to WeHoville.

The 37-year-old West Hollywood resident pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud in early 2018 and was arrested on a similar charge while he awaited sentencing. The scheme began to unravel in 2016 after a New York-based photographer sued him for allegedly scamming him out of $3 million.

Later that year he defaulted on loans for four L.A. properties, including a home on Stradella Road in Bel Air and a spec project in the Bird Streets.

Manafort, whose daughter Jessica divorced Yohai in 2017, lent $2.7 million to acquire the property on Stradella Road. A judge slapped Yohai with an injunction for renting out that property as a party house around the time he pled guilty in early 2018. The plea deal included an agreement to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Prosecutors said Yohai also sold bogus passes to the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, pawned expensive music gear that he didn’t own, and scammed recovering addicts through a “sober living” home he set up in L.A., according to Politico.

Yohai’s attorneys sought a five-year prison term. He was also ordered to pay $6.7 million in restitution and serve three years of supervised release after his prison term. [WeHoville]Dennis Lynch 

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